“I am compelled by some deep hunger of the soul… this does not mean working endlessly, accomplishing the most, or consuming the greatest amount and variety of things and experiences. It means tasting each mouthful, feeling each breath, listening to each song, being awake and aware of each moment as it unfolds.” Oriah Mountain Dreamer
There’s an anvil-shaped rock at the top of the valley opposite our house. I’ve only sat on it once before.
I finished work earlier than usual, headed down our hill, across the road, over the river and the canal and threaded my way up through the beech and the birch and the oak to the anvil-shaped rock.
The wind whipped up, threatening to blow my scarf up into the cloudless sky and I sat at the edge of the rock looking at how teeny tiny our house is from this distance.
I’m so high up here on this rock that I can look down at the crows launching themselves into the thermals. I admire their grace and freedom; their absolute trust that the wind will catch them and carry them every single time they soar.
I’m looking down at the sea of green foliage beneath me moving quietly in the wind. And I’m soaking up all the green. It’s going in through my eyes but it’s filling up my heart. The particular shade of beech leaf green that you see in an English woodland in May is my favourite shade of green.
I love the different kind of perspective we get when we are up higher than the trees and the birds. We can taste a greater spaciousness and freedom.
There is so much healing in this; simply spending time in nature without trying to do or be anything. When we stop trying so hard and surrender to the beauty that is there, nature steps in and unquestioningly soothes our souls.
These simple things make me happy. Life feels good.
And I remember when I lived in the city, and life felt complicated and busy. I wanted to change the world. I was passionate and driven because I really really wanted to change the world. I worked long hours until I got burnt out and jaded, and it became apparent that something had to change because the way I was going was making me ill.
That’s when I started taking flower essences to unravel the patterns and stories that were driving me to push so hard all the time. When I had taken flower essences long enough to gain perspective, I realised that I had been fuelled by some desperate desire to prove I was good enough. If I worked hard enough, achieved enough, was busy enough, successful enough, and impressed enough people then maybe I would be good enough.
Constantly chasing that external validation: the holy grail of good enough.
And if you’re a perfectionist then nothing will ever be good enough, because when you succeed at one thing you put higher expectations on yourself to exceed what you’ve already achieved. There will always be a new next level to reach.
I’ve been talking about this pattern of constantly pushing to achieve external success with clients this week.
It’s exhausting. It’s unhealthy. It’s not what we’re here for. But it’s so very common – it’s a modern epidemic.
And it seems to me that the drive for external success is fuelled almost entirely by our collective wound of feeling that we’re not good enough. This is what makes it so challenging for us to stop and just be. And this is the fuel that drives our hard-working, success-motivated capitalist Western world.
Not good enough is so coded into our cells that we spend a vast majority of our time trying to prove that we are. This is what motivates us to push, strive and succeed.
We are so many little hamsters on the wheel with our unresolved fear of not being good enough, working constantly to keep the fear at bay by pushing more, doing more, achieving more. We have to be perfect. We have to succeed. We have to keep busy. We have to prove ourselves over and over. But maybe it’s all just a lie that feeds an old paradigm that no longer fits the new world that is emerging.
If we accept that everyone has unresolved feelings of not being good enough (and honestly, in almost 20 years of working with clients I still haven’t met someone who doesn’t) then the harder we push ourselves to achieve, the harder everyone else has to push themselves to prove that they’re as good as us! And so the epidemic grows.
We’re all just trying to keep up with the next high-achieving perfectionist motivated by their secret fear that they’re not good enough. And as long as we continue to be driven by that pattern, we make everyone else exhausted and ill trying to keep pace with us. Madness, huh?
When I was sitting up on the rock, watching the birds and the trees in their freedom and their beauty just being as they are, it struck me that the way we change the world is by stepping off the hamster wheel. By taking the pressure off ourselves a little bit.
Maybe the gentle way to change the world is to remember that we’re already perfect and loveable, instead of pushing to prove that we are.
Maybe it’s OK to let the things we do be ‘good enough’ instead of perfect.
Maybe realising that we’re already ‘good enough’ is the greatest act of creative rebellion against a success-motivated capitalist world that we can do.
Maybe this is how we create a new paradigm, based on love and self-acceptance instead.
And maybe when we stop trying so hard we will have much more time to taste each mouthful, feel each breath, listen to each song, be awake and aware of each moment as it unfolds.
Flower and crystal essence recommendations:
Do you push yourself to achieve? Vervain from the Bach Flower Remedies will help you to take the pressure off and relax. Are you self-critical and perfectionist, never feeling like what you do is good enough? Beech Bach Flower Remedy brings greater tolerance and self-acceptance. Do you feel like you’re fundamentally not good enough? Pine Bach Flower Remedy brings positive self-worth and eases guilt. Do you lack confidence in your abilities? Larch Bach Flower Remedy will help you feel greater self-confidence.
If this is a big issue for you, the Feeling Worthy combination will help you to release feelings of being not good enough that are buried deep, and if you suspect this belief stems from childhood then the Inner Child Self Worth essence will bring healing to that younger part of you that needs attention.
You can take up to 8 Bach Flower Remedies at a time. My recommendation would be to take a combination of Bach Flower Remedies to treat the conscious beliefs on the surface, and one of these deeper acting blends alongside it at the same time to experience the greatest healing and release.